Brussel Noord – Gentbrugge Pirennelaan and Stelplaats

Brussel Noord
03 April 2017

Brussel Noord
Going home after all afternoon/early evening meeting

Gentbrugge Pirennelaan and Stelplaats
05 April 2017

Pirennelaan tram stop
Tram 22 to Kouter via Sint-Pieters
Underneath E17 viaduct

Pirennelaan
High Viaduct: E17 motorway
Low viaduct: NMBS Gent-Sint-Pieters to Antwerpen and Eeklo railway
Groundlevel: Tram 22 to Kouter via Sint-Pieters

Van Steenvoordelaan
Tram 22 to Kouter via Sint-Pieters

Van Steenvoordelaan
Stelplaats (depot)

Brusselsesteenweg
Tracks to/from stelplaats

To see all my pictures:

https://www.flickr.com/photos/12445197@N05/

More Belgian pictures to be published
Harjinder Singh
Man in Blue

Gent: De Lijn Trams, Brabantdam – Brussel Noord

De Lijn Trams, Brabantdam
02 April 2017

Zwaardsteeg off Brabantdam
The alleyway leads to nowhere but from it you get a nice view of the Ketelvaart and the Muinkschelde
See yesterday’s pictorial

Lippensplein
Tram 22 to Gentbrugge Dienstencentrum

Lippensplein
Tram 22 to Gentbrugge Dienstencentrum

Lippensplein
Tram 4 to Moscou
Tram 21 to Melle Leeuw
Tram 22 to Gentbrugge Dienstencentrum

Lippensplein
Tram 21 to Melle Leeuw

Brussel Noord
03 April 2017

Going home after an all-afternoon and early evening meeting

To see all my pictures:

https://www.flickr.com/photos/12445197@N05/

More Belgian pictures to be published
Harjinder Singh
Man in Blue

Sikh24.com – Sikh youth conferred ‘Order of the British Empire’ by Prince William

Sikh24 Editors

London-UK, 26 April 2017. London based young Sikh barrister named Jasvir Singh was conferred the award of ‘Order of the British Empire’ at an investiture ceremony at the Buckingham Palace for his services in inter-faith communication and social cohesion.

The ‘Order of the British Empire’ (OBE) is one of the Britain’s highest civilian honours. Jasvir Singh’s family hails from the Doaba region of Punjab.

Singh, who is the chair of City Sikhs and is closely involved in other organisations, has been honoured for services to faith communities and social cohesion in the United Kingdom.

Jasvir Singh received the OBE from Prince William in the Ballroom of the palace, along with two other Sikh recipients, Brinder Singh Mahon, for services to education, and detective sergeant Sarbjit Kaur from the Merseyside Police, for services to policing.

After attending the ceremony Jasvir Singh said that it was a humbling experience. “I met many inspiring people, including scientists, artists, paralympians and various members of the Armed Forces and the Police, and found out about their remarkable achievements,” he added.

He further informed that he also spoke to Prince William and commended him for the work he and his brother, Prince Harry, were doing to help remove the stigma of mental health problems.

It is worth mentioning here that Jasvir Singh was involved in several projects, including the ‘Grand Trunk Project’ led by the Faiths Forum for London, that looks to foster better relationships between communities of South-Asian heritage in towns and cities throughout the country.

His projects also include challenging hate crimes, promoting youth and female empowerment, improving faith literacy in society, and developing collaborative interfaith initiatives. He is considered as a plaintiff of creating positive change in society.

http://www.sikh24.com/2017/04/26/sikh-youth-conferred-order-of-the-british-empire-by-prince-williams/#.WQLPTcYlHIU

Gent: De Lijn Trams – Brabantdam

De Lijn Trams, Brabantdam
Future line 2 ?
02 April 2017

Brabant Dam / Kortedagsteeg
No more hole in the ground !

Brabant Dam / Kortedagsteeg
Good progress !

Brabantdam
Site of tramstop for trams via Kouter

Brabantdam/ Francois Laurentplein
Tracks are in place but site not ready

Brabantdam/ Francois Laurentplein
View of De Krook

Zwaardsteeg off Brabantdam
Muinkschelde/Ketelvaart

To see all my pictures:

https://www.flickr.com/photos/12445197@N05/

More Belgian pictures to be published
Harjinder Singh
Man in Blue

Consented.co.uk – Sikh Youth UK, Tommy Robinson and Islamophobia

Harkamal Singh

Birmingham, 27 April 2017. Historically, my community has prided itself on diversity. Growing up, I have spent many hours ambling up and down Soho Road, immersing myself in the various sights, sounds and smells.

Communal solidity has been largely positive, especially within inter-faith dialogue as generations of migrants have settled in Handsworth and have made an active effort to integrate socially, culturally and religiously.

As a city more widely, Birmingham has a similar reputation boasting a racially diverse demographic; in the 2011 census the population was recorded as 57% white, 26% Asian British, 9% British black and 4% mixed race.

One only needs to point to the recent response to the EDL march in the city centre to demonstrate Birmingham’s commitment to social cohesion and inclusivity.

As mentioned, inter-faith dialogue has developed religious understanding between various groups and even while much of the British media stokes Islamophobic sentiment, Birmingham largely exhibits unity.

I was disheartened, therefore, to see a name constantly appear on my twitter feed in close proximity to a Sikh religious organisation: Tommy Robinson. I believe this points to a larger problem pertaining to the organisation and its anti-grooming campaigns.

Sikh Youth UK do some important work with regards to tackling addiction and abuse within Sikh communities in Birmingham and nationwide. Recently however, the organisation has developed an anti-grooming narrative aimed at reducing the number of Sikh girls and women who experience varying types of victimisation and abuse.

I have no problem with the aims of this campaign, but the content of its narrative is what has shocked and surprised me, and it should be a cause of concern for those who value communal stability.

This campaign is projected through a variety of media, lectures, leaflets and a recently released film entitled Misused Trust.

This has slowly developed into a more overtly Islamophobic, anti-Muslim discourse as Sikh Youth UK openly demonstrate their professional relationship with Tommy Robinson, an activist who has worked with the British National Party (BNP), the English Defence League (EDL) and has recently established Pegida UK, an anti-Islamic organisation.

“Muslim/Islamic grooming gangs” is a phrase readily used in some British media which works to further distance the non-Muslim population from Muslim communities. This highly damaging, incredibly insensitive and down-right Islamophobic assertion encourages British Muslims to be viewed as extremists, criminals and as an anti-Western “Other”.

Sikh Youth UK reproduce such narratives in their anti-grooming campaigns to such an extent that Tommy Robinson has uploaded pictures with members of the organisation and has tweeted, describing their film as an education “about Muslim grooming”.

This exposed what I had thought for a long time: most public anti-grooming narratives contain anti-Muslim sentiments. It also exposed another problem within some British Sikh communities: rampant Islamophobia.

I was very happy to see certain groups, such as Sikhs Against the EDL, call upon Sikh Youth UK to explain their interactions with Tommy Robinson. However, I fear that the illogical anxieties that such people harbour about Islam can be difficult to dislodge once they have taken root.

Anti-Muslim sentiment is somewhat easier to stoke in British Sikh communities which is good news for Islamophobes. A religion with a distinct martial history, many individuals have become martyrs for the Sikh religion through interactions with the Mughal Empire.

Growing up, I was taught about the Sikh religion and its relationship with the Mughals, I was told stories of Mughal emperors forcing conversions and threatening Sikhs with death. I do not detract from this history, but to compare the Mughals of the sixteenth, seventeenth and eighteenth century India to modern-day British Muslims is ludicrous.

However, when considered alongside Islamophobia within British media more generally, this historic relationship becomes increasingly important as a justification for distinctly anti-Muslim views.

As a Sikh, I understand the ways in which Sikh Youth UK protesters were criminalised and portrayed as barbaric, religious criminals late last year. However, through their framing of “Muslim grooming gangs” they are reproducing the same marginalising structures which were previously used against them.

I do not want to see such malicious characterisations worsening community bonds and destroying lives.

As a Sikh, I want the organisations which claim to represent me to lay the building blocks for a future where my children do not think less of others based on fabricated lies. I want these organisations to tackle rampant anti-blackness, Islamophobia, misogyny and casteism in South Asian communities.

As a Sikh, I want an end to the grooming of all men and women without resorting to spiteful, insensitive and socially destructive narratives which will inevitably do more harm than good, pitting religious communities against one another: neighbour against neighbour, colleague against colleague and friend against friend.

http://www.consented.co.uk/read/sikh-youth-uk-tommy-robinson-and-islamophobia/

Gent Gurdwara – Bhog of Akhand Path

Mata Sahib Kaur Gurdwara
02 April 2017

Reading of the final pages of the Guru Granth Sahib

A full reading of the Guru Granth Sahib takes 48 hours

Gurbani Kirtan
Singing of the poetry from the Guru Granth Sahib

Tabla player, two singers who also play
waja = small harmonium

Sangat : Men on the left – women on the right

The Granthi Singh has joined the singers

Mata Sahib Kaur Gurdwara
Kortrijksepoortstraat 49
B-9000 Gent – Oost-Vlaanderen

To see all my pictures:

https://www.flickr.com/photos/12445197@N05/

More Belgian pictures to be published
Harjinder Singh
Man in Blue

KW – Petitie tegen mogelijke komst Sikh tempel [Gurdwara] in Blankenberge

Toekomstige Gurdwara in Blankenberge

The building the Sikhs want to take on rent for their Gurdwara

Some locals have started a petition against the gurdwara, which has been encouraged by the extreme right wing party Vlaams Belang. We have been contacted by another group of local people who want to welcome the Sikhs.
Man in Blue

Concreet vrezen enkele buurtbewoners voor overlast en problemen op vlak van mobiliteit.

Blankenberge, 26 April 2017. Buurtbewoners van de Schaapstraat in Blankenberge zijn een petitie gestart tegen de mogelijke herbestemming van de sportruimte naar een gebedsruimte voor de Sikh-gemeenschap.

Concreet vrezen ze vooral voor overlast en problemen op vlak van mobiliteit. Eigenaar Raoul Bruggeman (86) ziet geen probleem. “Dat zijn heel brave mensen. Ik zie niet in hoe zij voor overlast zouden zorgen.”

De aanvraag voor een stedenbouwkundige vergunning werd eind vorige maand ingediend. Of er in de toekomst effectief een Sikh-tempel komt, is nog niet zeker. Toch zijn ze er in de buurt niet gerust op. Vlaams Belang stak het vuur aan de lont en reageerde ongerust op de aanvraag.

Om hun woorden kracht bij te zetten, startten verschillende buurtbewoners met een petitie. Daarin vragen ze het stadsbestuur uitdrukkelijk om geen stedenbouwkundige vergunning toe te kennen voor een gebedsruimte. “We vrezen vooral overlast en een aantrekpool voor illegalen”, zeggen de initiatiefnemers.

“Daarnaast is de kans ook groot dat de komst van een gebedsruimte zal zorgen voor problemen met de mobiliteit in de straat. En vooral: de nabijheid van zo’n ruimte is volgens ons niet geschikt in de nabijheid van een school.” De petitie werd ondertussen al zo’n 400 keer ondertekend. Woensdag zullen ze ook postvatten aan de school in de Schaapstraat om nog meer handtekeningen te verzamelen.

Geen overlast

Raoul Bruggeman (86) kocht het pand vorig jaar op en gaf toestemming aan de gemeenschap, die in Blankenberge zo’n 40 leden telt, om het gebouw te huren. “Waarom niet? Dat zijn hele brave mensen. Ik kan me niet voorstellen dat ze voor overlast zullen zorgen.

Dat mensen bang zijn voor extremisten of illegalen? Het Sikhisme staat volledig los van de moslims of Allah. Geloof me: ik heb er alle vertrouwen in dat alles rustig zal verlopen.”

Burgemeester Patrick De Klerck (Open VLD) wil nog niet vooruitlopen op de zaken. “Ik wacht het onderzoek van de bevoegde diensten af om een oordeel te velden”, aldus de burgemeester.

http://kw.knack.be/west-vlaanderen/nieuws/samenleving/petitie-tegen-mogelijke-komst-sikh-tempel-in-blankenberge/article-normal-259145.html

NSO – A tribute to Rt Hon Fiona Mactaggart MP

We are truly sorry to hear Fiona Mactaggart the MP for Slough is standing down at the forthcoming election.

Slough has the highest percentage of Sikh residents in the UK and for the last two decades she has been nothing short of a champion for the community, and indeed, all minority communities across Britain.

Aside from her annual appearance at the Vaisakhi Nagar Kirtan, she has frequently raised important issues on behalf of the Sikh community in parliament.

These include the call for better recognition of the Sikh contribution to the Great Wars, advocacy for Sikh faith schools, and speaking out against human rights violations in India.

Lord Singh who first met Fiona at the Communities Faith Forum whilst she was a government Minister said, “At the time, despite poor health, she threw herself into her new role with enthusiasm and vigour in promoting community understanding and engagement.”

He went on, “I join many others in the Sikh community in wishing Fiona health and happiness in her well-deserved retirement from frontline politics.”

Network of Sikh Organisations (NSO)
London UK

Gent Gurdwara: School visits – Sassekaai and Neuseplein

Gent Gurdwara
School visits
27 and 30 March 2017

27 March : group photo
With sevadar and Granthi Singh

30 March : Granthi Singh and Sevadars

30 March : Students having tea and ‘snack’

 Mata Sahib Kaur Gurdwara
Kortrijksepoortstraat 49
B-9000 Gent – Oost-Vlaanderen

Sassekaai and Neuseplein/Tolpoort
Works, no trams
31 March 2017

Sassekaai – no Tram service !
I suppose they are working on the drains
It looks like the drains empty out into the docks

Sassekaai
You can just about walk past the works
Cars and trams have no hope getting through

Tram 4 Neuseplein – Two Tram 4 services
1) Moscou to Voormuide
2) UZ to Tolpoort

To see all my pictures:

https://www.flickr.com/photos/12445197@N05/

More Belgian pictures to be published
Harjinder Singh
Man in Blue

The Times of India – Expel MP: UK gurdwara writes to Labour Party

I am no fan of the previous Gurdwara pardhan Himmat Singh Sohi, I am no fan of the present pardhan Gurmail Singh Malhi nor of committee member Harjit Singh Sarpanch or Virendra Sharma MP. I have lived in West London for about 13 years and I know that there are excellent people in the local Sikh community. Why are these not elected as MP, or member of the Gurdwara committee ?
Man in Blue

Chandigarh, 25 April 2017. There is a different fervour to snap general election campaign in Ealing-Southall this year with Gurdwara Sri Guru Singh Sabha, Southall, passing a resolution seeking expulsion of incumbent Member of Parliament, Virendra Sharma, from the Labour Party of Britain.

This resolution is a result of a social media messaging controversy involving some committee members of the gurdwara. Sri Guru Singh Sabha, Southall, is the largest gurdwara out side India with about 10,000 registered members. The controversy has become a talking point in the local Sikh circles.

Sharma on his part says that the campaign against him is politically motivated and is being stirred up by a small number of people driven by religion and the regions they come from. He insists the protests don’t represent the community’s feelings.

He had also written to the gurdwara’s general secretary, apologising for sharing a What sApp message that was against the gurdwara’s management committee.

It is alleged that during the annual Southall Baisakhi Nagar Kirtan earlier this month, Sharma passed on messages on social media that were allegedly defamatory and malicious that targeted some of the gurdwara management committee members, including its president Gurmail Singh Malhi.

Expressing concern during a specially convened executive committee meeting, gurdwara vice-president Harjit Singh Sarpanch said, “It is more serious because it has been done and being done by a public person like Sharma in collaboration with his supporters to spread hatred in the community”.

Sarpanch alleged that Sharma was not capable of representing the diverse people of Southall and Ealing and that he had been dividing communities.

“This is an act of political criminality. He has sent messages on WhatsApp relating to me and my colleagues’ personal matters. He must be suspended as an MP by the Labour Party”, claimed Manjit Singh Buttar, the gurdwara general secretary, who is also a Councillor in the London Borough of Hounslow.

The management committee has since passed a resolution planning to take action against Sharma.

The executive committee unanimously condemned “malicious, conspired, character assassination on the day of Nagar Kirtan to cause maximum harm to the reputation and character of our key committee members.” It was also resolved that the case be reported to the police and further civil action be initiated as per legal advice.

It was also decided that the committee would report the matter to the Leader of the Labour Party calling for action to expel Mr Sharma MP from the party as well as to approach the Speaker of the House of Commons requesting him to take appropriate action against him.

Sharma said, “The argument with Buttar and the gurdwara is all product of a misunderstanding. There is no real conflict between us and I have offered to meet with everyone concerned to clear up the issue.”

The April 20 letter written to the gurdwara general secretary by the MP, a copy of which has been provided to TOI, Sharma said, “On the 9th April I received a WhatsApp message from an unknown number.

This message contained numerous allegations about a number of highly respected members of our local community and people I consider to be pillars of society. I will not waste space on the scurrilous rumours and gossip in the message, but I told the sender that it was wrong to make such allegations anonymously…”

He added in the letter that when the first accusations were followed by further accusations, he shared the number and message with very few friends to try to ascertain the identity of the sender.

“In doing so I realise that I spread the gossip further and I would like to wholeheartedly apologise for this, and any accidental credence I lent the allegations, this was not my intention,” he said.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/chandigarh/expel-mp-uk-gurdwara-writes-to-labour-party/articleshow/58354628.cms